In February and March of this year, Graco Children’s Products recalled 11 of 18 models of car seats because the seats’ harness buckles can become difficult to unlatch or get stuck in the locked position. If there is an accident and the car seat does its job and protects against trauma, but the child is then trapped in the seat, they face the risk of personal injuries from further collisions, or, particularly, burns or smoke inhalation, or the risk of being burned to death or smothered. Children cannot be expected to extract themselves, and the parents, acting in an emergency, may face buckles that are stuck closed, and in such emergencies, every second counts.
In February, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) questioned Graco’s refusal to not recall the seven other car seat models it manufactures. Graco argued that infant seats are used differently, and in an emergency, that an adult can remove the whole seat rather than using the buckle. NHTSA sent a strongly worded letter stating Graco’s report was incomplete and misleading (page 4) and threatened civil penalties if Graco did not adhere to the federal regulations.
Graco has finally acceded to NHTSA’s request and recalled the seven infant-seat models. All told, Graco has now recalled over 6.1 million seats.
The current recall includes: SnugRide, SnugRide Classic Connect (including Classic Connect 30 and 35), SnugRide 30, SnugRide 35, SnugRide Click Connect 40, and Aprica A30. For the full NHTSA Recall, click here.
Report Receipt Date: JUN 30, 2014
NHTSA Campaign Number: 14C004000
Component(s): CHILD SEAT
Potential Number of Units Affected: 1,910,102
Manufacturer: Graco Children’s Products Inc.
SUMMARY: Graco Children’s Products (Graco) is recalling certain rear-facing child restraints manufactured between July 2010 and May 2013, models SnugRide, SnugRide Classic Connect (including Classic Connect 30 and 35), SnugRide 30, SnugRide 35, SnugRide Click Connect 40, and Aprica A30. The defect involves difficulty in unlatching the harness buckle. In some cases, the buckle becomes stuck in a latched condition so that it cannot be opened by depressing the buckle’s release button.
CONSEQUENCE: It may be difficult to remove the child from the restraint, increasing the risk of injury in the event of a vehicle crash, fire, or other emergency, in which a prompt exit from the vehicle is required.
REMEDY: Graco will replace the buckle with a new design, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule. Owners may contact Graco at 1-877-766-7470.
At Terrell • Hogan, helping families recover from accidents and personal injury is what we do every day, but we know that it’s best to try to find ways to prevent injury and loss before they happen. So, until there’s a solution to this worrisome problem, Terrell • Hogan will continue to repeat infor¬mation about recalls of defective and dangerous products to help keep you informed and safe.